Photo of Lincoln Cottage, Washington DC, courtesy of LincolnCottage.org. Cover image courtesy of Latina magazine
Scholarly publications and the news media are beginning to focus on the book Abraham Lincoln and Mexico that examines Lincoln’s legacy as an international statesman.
A scholarly paper published online by the LincolnCottage.org (based in the museum at Lincoln’s cottage retreat in Washington, DC) uses research in the book to authenticate Lincoln’s support for Mexico as President. The article even borrows the phrase “Unlikely Friendship” from the subtitle of the book by historian and educator Michael Hogan.
The article references Hogan’s research of personal papers (see footnote xi) by Mexican ambassador Matías Romero detailing Romero’s visit to Springfield, Illinois just before Lincoln’s inauguration, and footnote xii directly cites Hogan’s book. Here’s an excerpt from the article:
This was an especially significant and unique visit. By many accounts, this was the first time Lincoln conversed directly with a person of Mexican descent. Furthermore, though he was about to assume responsibility for American foreign policy, Lincoln received not a single caller from the capitals of Europe between his election and inauguration. Lincoln’s personal secretary, John Hay, was understandably gratified to observe Romero’s display of “deep respect and consideration” for the president-elect. Indeed, Lincoln was taken with the young diplomat from the outset.[x]
In contrast to the turbulent relationship between the United States and Mexico in the first half of the nineteenth century, Mexico genuinely looked forward to a Lincoln presidency. In fact, Romero, in his voluminous notes, diary, and correspondence[xi] was the first to note the similarities in personality, demeanor, intelligence and background between Lincoln and Mexican leader Benito Juarez. Indeed, shortly after Lincoln’s election, Mexico had emerged from its own civil war. Mexico’s new leadership wanted nothing more than economic cooperation with the United States and to be treated as a respected southern neighbor — something that would not have even been considered with Lincoln’s Democratic predecessors who were bent on the annexation of significant portions of the Mexican nation. Now, with the election of the Lincoln’s Republicans on a platform of free-soil and free-labor, Mexico’s new leadership counted on the Lincoln administration to respect Mexican territorial borders.[xii]
The book was also featured in the online version of Latina magazine, an English-language publication based in New York City, with a readership second only to the Spanish edition of People magazine. Here’s an excerpt:
More than 200 towns and 600 schools are named after Abraham Lincoln in the United States, but he is widely honored throughout Latin America and the Caribbean as well. Lincoln has been honored with postage stamps in Argentina, Colombia, Cuba, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Suriname and Venezuela. There are statues of Lincoln in four major Mexican cities: Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua City, Tijuana, and Mexico City.
We spoke with Historian Michael Hogan, author of “Abraham Lincoln and Mexico: A History of Courage, Intrigue, and Unlikely Friendships” about his little-known popularity and contributions across our southern border.
Is it fair to say that Lincoln is revered in Latin America?
Yes, particularly in Mexico. Benito Juarez, the nation’s most admired leader, is often called “the Abraham Lincoln of Mexico,” because he, too, was born from a very poor family, raised himself up by his bootstraps, and became a lawyer and ultimately the president of his country. As president, Lincoln supported the Mexican people against the French, who invaded Mexico in 1863, during the American Civil War.
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